Movies to Watch to Distract You from Your Workload

Just because winter break has ended, you don’t have to stop using your free time to dive into a slew of movies to distract from day-to-day life. In fact, I think now more than ever is the best time to be watching movies. In the past year there have been some great releases in theaters and on streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. Plus, the Oscars/Academy Awards (I use these interchangeably) are coming up, and if you’re like me, you have to watch most of the nominated films just so you can cheer when you agree with the winner and you can complain when you don’t. I’ve compiled a list of 10 movies to watch to distract you from the work or school work you should be focused on, but this just seems more fun. And most importantly, this is way less stressful to keep up with.

In Theaters/Released in Theaters in the Past Few Months: 

Call Me By Your Name

Be prepared to shed a few tears. And by a few, I mean a few happy, a few sad and a few “why am I even crying” tears. This movie is so beautifully made, from the setting to the characters. Plus, Timothèe  Chalamet and Armie Hammer are very easy on the eyes. It is a story of the relationship between 17-year-old Elio and his father’s assistant Oliver. If you’re still not convinced, it’s nominated for an Academy Award in Best Picture, Lead Actor for Chalamet, Adapted Screenplay and Original Song. Watch it, and if you won’t, at least listen to the soundtrack. 

Lady Bird

I feel like this one goes unsaid. From what I hear around and see online, it’s a crowd favorite. I found myself smiling through most of the movie. Lady Bird is a sort of comedic coming of age story about a high-school senior, self-named Lady Bird, and her life with her family, with boys and deciding on college. It’s directed by Greta Gerwig, who is the first female director to be nominated for an Academy Award in eight years and the fifth female director to be nominated in Academy HISTORY. Though I really don’t understand how those numbers can be so small, it just shows she worked hard on this film, and with five total Oscar noms, it definitely paid off.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


As a native Missouri girl, I feel like I’m obligated to see this movie. I haven’t yet, but after its Golden Globes success and reading about its interesting plotline, I’m pretty excited to see what it’s all about. This black comedy movie is about a mother who rents three billboards to call out the little investigation into her daughter’s murder. Lead actress Frances McDormand seems to play the perfect part in the role, even winning herself a Lead Actress Oscar nom. It’s nominated for seven total Academy Awards, the third highest this year, so it looks like I know what I’m watching next.

The Shape of Water

Going along with the highest nom flow, The Shape of Water leads the Oscar pack this year with 13 nominations. I haven’t seen this one either, and truthfully I hadn’t heard of it until it won big at the Golden Globes. This fantasy film is about a mute custodian at a government laboratory who grows a relationship with a captured human/amphibian creature of sorts. The director, Guillermo del Toro, has been praised for the film, some calling it his best work. The concept of the film is definitely one that seems new and interesting to me, and with that list of noms, it would be a disservice for me not to see it.

The Greatest Showman

Okay, I know I’ve been on a nominated movies only trend, and though this doesn’t break the cycle completely, it’s definitely a little off course. I know this movie has received some bad critic reviews, but you need to see it for yourself. I’ll admit I love all movie-musicals, but The Greatest Showman is SO good! I seriously don’t see what the critics are seeing, and I like to consider myself pretty well-versed in the film rating department, judging by my list of favorite movies which includes a mix of critically-acclaimed and critically-disapproved films. This movie is about the life of P.T. Barnum and his creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. The music deserves an A+ from me, with one song “This Is Me” nominated for an Oscar, and the movie deserves a whole lot more than what people are giving it. 

On Streaming - Netflix or Hulu:

Black Mirror (Netflix)

Not technically a movie, but the episodes are pretty long, so I will consider this a movie for the purpose of recommending some great distractions. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re probably living under a rock. But for the few of you who haven’t, Black Mirror is a science fiction series that examines a future society, usually dealing with some form of technology and its unanticipated consequences. You can watch the seasons/episodes in any order; each episode contains a different plot line. Want to know what a world would be like with contact lenses that have recording devices? Or how about a world where you can live inside a video game? Maybe you want to know what it would be like to know how long your relationship with someone would last? Watch Black Mirror.

 47 Meters Down (Netflix)

I haven’t seen this movie, and truthfully I haven’t heard much about it except commercials. But, it was recently released on Netflix, and it’s on “My List” to watch. So, I figured I’d let some others know that it’s on there just in case you wanted to see it too but forgot to in theaters. This film is about two sisters who cage dive to see sharks up close. When they’re in the water, the cable holding the cage breaks, and they plummet to the ocean floor (what a surprise!). Though the concept isn’t very new, I still want to see it. It’s probably your typical thriller that you enjoy but won’t watch again, but that’s grounds for a perfect distraction!

The Boss Baby (Netflix)

I had to include this one. I was originally against seeing this movie. I thought it was a cute idea, but I was never going to actually spend time or money on it. When my little cousin was visiting over winter break, he CRIED until we watched it, and I actually ended up enjoying it. The Boss Baby is an animated comedy about a secret agent baby trying to find out why adult’s are preferring puppies over babies. That honestly made me laugh just describing it. Alec Baldwin voices the baby character, and he does a great job of playing the part. It was even nominated for the Animated Feature Academy Award. If a movie with this concept can do that, I think it deserves a watch.

Arrival (Hulu)

If you’re looking for a movie to make you think (A LOT), this is the one for you. I was completely focused on the movie while watching, wanting to figure it out. Arrival is a science fiction film about a linguist enlisted by the U.S. Army to communicate with aliens that have arrived on Earth. Though it’s from last year’s nomination circuit, it has recently been added to Hulu’s somewhat unsatisfying list of films to watch. This one is definitely not unsatisfying, and it will keep you hooked throughout the whole movie. 

Fences (Hulu)

Fences is another movie from last year’s nomination circuit, and it’s also another one I’m surprised to see on Hulu’s list of movies. Fences is about a man, Denzel Washington, making his living as a 1950s sanitation worker; his whole life he wished to be a professional baseball player, but he was too older when major leagues finally allowed black athletes. This sort of theme of missed opportunity is apparent throughout the movie. Washington directed and produced the film as well, and he knew what he wanted it to be. He and Viola Davis grab your attention with how well they know their characters, and it’s definitely a movie worth seeing. 

Hopefully, you now know what to do with your time when you really don’t feel like going to that class or when you feel like calling in sick. Though those streaming movies will probably/hopefully (I’m looking at you Netflix) be around for a while, the theater films may not be, meaning you might need to make a little more time for distractions in your daily schedule.